LA Clippers Can’t Contain San Antonio


77. 115. 29. Final. 105

The LA Clippers couldn’t get past the tried and true Spurs of San Antonio.

After what was arguably the best series of the playoffs last season, both the Clippers and the Spurs reloaded their rosters over the summer.

The Clippers re-signed DeAndre Jordan to much fan-fare, while also adding veterans Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson.

San Antonio made big waves of their own in acquiring one of the biggest free-agents on the market in LaMarcus Aldridge and veteran David West.

The game seemed to pick up right where game seven left off, as both teams remained close throughout three quarters.

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It was in the third in the midst of a run by the Clippers that San Antonio began to employ the “Hack-A-Jordan” strategy which shifted the momentum in favor of the Spurs.

While the Clippers had been able to disrupt the execution of the Spurs play for most of the game, the team fell completely off rhythm when San Antonio began to excessively foul Jordan.

Jordan went to the foul line a total of 20 times, the majority in the latter half of a third quarter, that was painful stretch of basketball to watch.  With their offense disrupted, the Clippers defense also struggled as they failed to get stops on the other end to slow down San Antonio.

This was coupled with what was another abysmal night for Jordan at the line, as the center made only 8 of his 20 free-throws.

In the fourth quarter, the Spurs began with an 11-0 run that the Clippers could not overcome.  A huge spark for San Antonio in the final period was Tony Parker who scored 10 of his 21 points.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 26 points and 13 rebounds.  All of the Spurs starters ended in double figures — Tim Duncan at 14 points, Kawhi Leonard at 19 and Danny Green at 10.

The Clippers were led by another 20+ point game from Chris Paul who had 27 points and 10 assists.  Blake Griffin notched 25 points.

Griffin reached double figures in the first half of a game for the twenty-second time this season. With his thirteen points in the first half, Griffin leads all NBA players in reaching double figures in two quarters.

DeAndre Jordan’s trouble at the foul line did not keep him from recording another double-double as he had 16 points and 17 rebounds.

The Spurs remain undefeated at home with 15 wins and hold the second-best record in the Western Conference at 23-5.  The Clippers now fall to 16-11 and are currently fourth in the standings.

Most frustratingly for the Clippers is that they looked poised to pull away for a victory over the second best team in the West before San Antonio slowed the game by fouling Jordan.

While within the rules, it took away the excitement from what was turning into an amazing game of basketball.

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The Spurs now maintain their momentum and have an easier schedule with two match-ups with their Texas rival Houston Rockets in the coming weeks.  Their next big test against elite competition will be on January 14th when they face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Opposite to many teams, the Clippers easiest match-up in the next week will be their Christmas Day game.

The Clips will be facing the Rockets in Houston on Saturday and will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

Bottom Line: Clippers must stop hurting themselves.

While obviously frustrated with their loss in San Antonio, the Clippers’ resiliency is a positive sign as they look to face two of the better teams in the west this week.